CFA prepares HBCU scholars for homeownership

When Roshan Ghimire was growing up in Nepal, he wouldn’t call himself ‘money savvy.’ “Nobody really talks to you about financial literacy, credit and the money management skills you need for homeownership,” he says. Yet those were skills he wanted to master.

He got his wish when he moved to the United States and majored in actuarial science at Morgan State University. There, he was introduced to the Center for Financial Advancement (CFA), a program that positions students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to succeed financially and professionally.

CFA teaches financial and homeownership preparation and gives students access to internships within the mortgage industry. For Roshan, the program did even more: “It set me on a path to become a homeowner,” he says.

Once Roshan graduated:

• He built up his credit.
• He found a job that provided a stable income.
• He connected with HomeFree-USA Homeownership Advisor Freda Williams, who guided him through the homebuying process.

HomeFree-USA also connected Roshan with Truist. Kay Odumoso, a community mortage specialist with Truist, was his loan officer. “Truist had a good team in place,” Roshan says. Even though the sale closed shortly after the busy season between Christmas and New Year’s Day, “everything stayed on track.”

Roshan sees homeownership as a launching pad for building wealth. “I’m trying to turn my house into a rental property because I want to make passive income,” he says.

One challenge he faced: Saving up enough cash. As a recent college graduate, he hadn’t had years of employment to stash money aside. However, HomeFree-USA helped him to identify programs that would reduce the amount of cash he needed to come up with for a downpayment and closing costs. In fact, he didn’t spend more than $1,000 on closing costs because of the assistance he received.

“There’s a myth around the community that to buy a home you have to put down a lot of money, but that’s not true,” he says.

Roshan believes CFA gave him a head start over his peers when it comes to having the necessary skills to be financially successful.

“We got all that financial knowledge in college,” he says. “I was able to save up and get my credit score ready for homeownership.”